Q: How can I make sure my next performance review goes well and I get a raise or promotion?
A: You’re demonstrating initiative by asking this question and it’s important to be pro-active about performance reviews. Remember that no one cares about your career as much as you do. It’s also typically the case that many managers see the performance review as added work to their already busy schedule. Rather than leaving all the work in your manager’s hands, take some control of the process.
First, make sure you understand the standard review process at your firm, e.g. how often performance reviews are done, whether they always include salary reviews and the standard salary increase for good performance. Then consider your situation, your goals, and what you hope to achieve through the performance review. Before you sit down with your manager to discuss your performance, you’ll need to schedule the review, set expectations and prepare for the meeting.
Educate yourself about the market: are people in the same position equally compensated? Know the value you bring to your organization. Try to get insight and broad perspective from your boss and others in organization. But be realistic. Some people have a tendency to look at their strong points and overlook negatives.
After you set up the review with your manager, you should spend time preparing for the meeting. Many companies have standard forms to use for the review, but, again, I recommend being proactive. Present proof of your performance and show off your accomplishments, especially when it comes to how you have differentiated yourself from your peers or how you benefited the company through your actions. For instance, if you work in accounting or finance, think about processes that you may have streamlined, e.g. closed the books in 3 or 4 days instead of a week, or money that you may have saved the company money by shopping around for a more efficient vendor. Focus on work you did during the review period that went above and beyond your job’s requirements. If you feel your accomplishments merit an increase in compensation or another benefit, let your manager know about your goals ahead of the meeting as it will make the conversation more valuable during your review.
Finally, remember that your review isn’t a once-a-year event; it’s something you can work on throughout the year. You should leave each review with goals for the next review period. It’s a good idea to reference these goals throughout the period. Also, let your boss know of your accomplishments as they happen and call attention to your work (in a good way) throughout the year. Perhaps you even put your goals/accomplishments into a calendar format, such as setting certain goals for the quarter or season and track your achievements. For perspective on the annual review process, and how some companies are changing their performance review policies, take a look at this recent Wall Street Journal article.
About the Recruiter
Greg Menzone is a 10-year veteran of the staffing industry who has made hundreds of successful placements. Greg and the team he manages specialize in direct hire placement of accounting and finance professionals.